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Faraday Road pitch opens up for community use

West Berkshire Council will resume responsibility for the Faraday Road sports pitch in Newbury later this month.

The pitch lies within an area set for a major regeneration which will deliver new homes, affordable accommodation and high quality office and retail space. The facility is currently leased to Trustees of the Newbury Football Club but West Berkshire Council will resume responsibility for the site once the lease expires.

West Berkshire Council will look to operate the site itself so that it remains available for community use until the redevelopment of the site begins.

The site will be temporarily unavailable while the Council surveys the site to assess its condition and safety, and to put in place the arrangements to allow the community to use it. Subject to the results of the survey work we aim to have the site open in September and will be making it freely available to the public as a multi-use games area. While residents may choose to use it for multiple different sports, it will be marked up with two five-a-side pitches for those wanting to play football.

Residents will be able to simply turn up and use the space rather than needing to book in advance. These arrangements will be kept under review by West Berkshire Council to ensure the facility is being used responsibly.

Speaking about the Council's plans, Councillor James Fredrickson said:

"The redevelopment of the London Road Industrial Estate will see tens of millions of pounds invested in the local economy and deliver significant benefits to our community. We know there is a need for more high quality business space in Newbury and the industrial estate is an ideal place to do this.

"Whilst we would have liked to allow the football club to stay at the pitch, we now need the site to be available for redevelopment to commence. We couldn't then provide the full year lease that the club requested. The site will now close briefly as we make it ready to be opened to the public as a multi-use games area. I'm pleased that we have found a way to keep the site open to the community until we are ready to begin the redevelopment. This will mean many more groups will be able to enjoy the facility.

"Our plans to redevelop the site have been known for a long time and when we signed a short-term lease with Newbury Football Club in 2005 we said even then it would only run for a few years. It was due to expire in 2016 but having worked with the club we agreed to extend it for a further, final two years, whilst also exploring the availability of other sites for the club. The time has now come to move on to the next chapter for the London Road Industrial Estate."

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